What the Chinese Thought of the British Empire In the 18th Century (2 mins)

I was brought up with a very western-centric view of the world, and culture continues to frame things in that way. It is therefore intriguing to view the world from a completely different perspective. History can provide a very real way of doing that. One example of this is when the British Empire encountered the Chinese.

The British Empire, one of the largest in history, went through several phases. One critical phase was the American War Of Independence when the colonists in North America broke away from the Empire in 1783. While it did stop British expansion in the west, it resulted in them focusing on the East. Eventually, it lead to the British Raj in India and the next phase of the British Empire.

It also saw them have more contact with the Chinese. At the time, the British were allowed to trade in the Canton port (later Hong Long), but they weren’t allowed a presence in mainland China.  What many history books fail to mention is that though the British (along with possibly the French) were the largest European powers, they weren’t the largest in the world. Continue reading “What the Chinese Thought of the British Empire In the 18th Century (2 mins)”

Napoleon As Management Guru?!

Napolean

I recently re-read a book on Napoleon by British Historian Andrew Roberts. Napoleon of course is known to some as one of great military commanders in history. But I looked for Napoleon’s broader leadership style and character. This is what I took away from the book: Continue reading “Napoleon As Management Guru?!”

Shakespeare Gives Great Advice

Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, Magneto from X-Men and a zillion characters from Shakespeare’s plays – that has been the remarkable range of Sir Ian McKellen. To celebrate his 80th birthday he’s been touring the UK with his one man show ‘Ian McKellen On Stage’. I recently got to see him and I must say he was amazing. But it reminded me how good Shakespeare is – and McKellen lives and breathes his works. Here’s a selection of the more practical quotes from Shakespeare’s plays:

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7 Tips To Help the Planet and Yourself

Burning forests, floods, strange weather patterns – the list goes on. Climate change is here and we’re the cause. Our lifestyles are depleting the planet of its natural self-healing properties. At the same time, the scale of the challenge is so large that as an individual it can paralyse us into inaction. But every little helps, here are 7 things I do that could make some small difference to the planet. They have the added benefit of saving you money, making you healthier or improving your social connections.

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22 Untranslatable Words

When I was young I would “ikstuarpok” when I was expecting friends. I often “pana po’o” when I’m working. And I hope I never “shenmei pilao”. Many times, you can’t quite find the word in English to describe something. Thankfully, other cultures and languages have such words. It makes you wonder why English doesn’t have them. Here are 22 such words:

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When do you become a grown-up?

I’ve been feeling like a child in recent weeks. My mother’s passing has caused this. It’s made me wonder about adulthood.  When exactly are we grown up? I know for sure it’s not turning eighteen – even if that’s what the law says. I cringe when I think of myself at that age pretending to be all grown up. Behind my smiling persona was the same five-year-old that craved pleasing others.

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Losing My Mother; Gaining Your Wisdom

Me as a child and how I feel now.

It’s been almost two weeks since my mother passed away, and I’ve had such an outpouring of support that I can’t thank people enough. It’s helped me understand how at times of pain, there is much love. Many of you have reached out with lovely words and I thought I’d share some of them. They contain much wisdom, which can hopefully help others too.

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